Simple Guide on Preparing to Enroll Baby into Daycare

Daycare is a great childcare option. It is affordable, reliable, and convenient compared to hiring a nanny and other home-based care arrangements. However there is so much that takes moms by surprise as they enroll their kids into daycare.

You can adequately prepare for daycare enrollment by looking for daycare early, pay for the spot, plan for daycare drop off and pick up, allocate a designated pick up person, manage daycare bugs, label items, and allow time for adjustment once baby starts daycare.

Things to Prepare for Before Starting Baby on Daycare

1. Start Looking for Daycare Early

Daycare slots are very tough to find but some locations easier than others. As such be ready for a straining period of finding the best daycare. Most competitive and high-quality daycare in the towns has long waiting lists going as far as 2 years. You cannot simply walk into daycare and secure a spot to start tomorrow.

To start preparing to enroll your child into daycare start looking and booking as now. Look into potential daycares you may like and get on that list. You may never get a spot in some daycares and hence the reason to do this on multiple daycares.

Trust your gut when you feel your daycare is just not the right match for your baby and be willing to keep looking until you feel comfortable with having your child there.

Read: Tell Tale Signs of a Good/Bad Daycare

2. Pay to Keep the Spot

Daycares are in business and expect you to pay to keep your spot. You will be charged for all the days they are keeping your spot. It is common that daycares has a policy whereby you still pay even when your child stays home when sick or for other reasons.

You, therefore, do not have the luxury of pulling your baby in and out of daycare. Technically you may but you will have to pay for those absent days to keep the spot.

If not your run the risk of losing your spot. The waiting lists are long and they are losing business by having kids not attending daycare and holding on to a spot that is not paid for.

Read: How to get into Daycare Fast

3. Plan for Daycare Drop-offs and Pickups 

Do not underestimate the magnitude of daycare drop offs and pick ups. Before you enroll you child into daycare, you need to prepare for an easier and convenient way to drop off your child and pick them up in the evening.

To begin with, it is a hustle and time-consuming to pack lunch and other necessities into the daycare bag, dress, and get your baby ready for daycare. Next comes the commute, which can be worse if the daycare is a long distance from your home or work as it can be time-consuming and offset your day plans.

After this, there is separation anxiety when having your baby get into daycare. In the evening you still have to deal with pickups.

Overall the routine is just too much and you must be prepared mentally and physically for it. All these are challenges you need to be well prepared for before you even enroll your child into daycare.

Read: Managing Daycare Drop offs and Pick ups

4. Allocate a Designated Pickup Person

It is pretty standard for daycares to decline random people from picking up kids. Some daycares have a policy that it’s only parents and guardians only who are allowed to pick up kids.  Therefore plan on who will be picking up your child.

Do not, therefore, send random people to pick up your baby from daycare. If you really cannot make it, you need to let your daycare know well in advance and also have the person show the attendant their id.

5. Plan on How to Manage Daycare Bugs

Babies are a pretty and adorable lot, but they are filthy. There are so many germs lurking on their hands and faces among others. It makes daycares a breeding and transmission hub for bugs. Your child will definitely catch a bug and bring it home, probably infecting everyone else at home.

You therefore need to know that bugs are common in daycare and you need to prepare to manage them. Daycare bugs can be quite frequent and will keep your child ill at home very many times. However, there are things you can do such as hygiene to lower the catches of daycare bugs significantly affecting your baby and family.

Read: Ways of Keeping Daycare Bugs at Bay

6. Label Baby Items

Ensure that you label all your child’s items that are going to daycare. This includes jacket, blanket, bottle, bottle lid, mitten, boot, food containers, anything. Daycares are not offering one on one care, and have several kids in each class in the daycare which leads to a lot of mix-up.

Therefore it is common that baby items to get lost or destroyed. It is pretty normal as kids are involved in intensive activities all day. Your child may come home often without some of his items or some torn. It is also common to find random stuff in the backpacks from other kids, which you should return.

Secondly don’t send your baby to daycare with expensive clothes. They are is a high chance of having them torn or destroyed.

how to prepare for enrolling baby into daycare

7. Dont Bring Toys to Daycare

Toys are magical in keeping babies occupied and entertained. You probably have lots of toys at home but you do not need to send your baby to daycare with them. The daycare centers have all the items and toys that your child can probably need to play with.

Also, the daycare has a routine and activities that they follow for the growth and development of your child. Maybe what you can do is pack a small special item that can be used to soothe the baby.

8. Pack Extra Food when Baby Starts Daycare

It can be quite a task to get babies to eat, especially at home. However, the game changes at daycare. Prepare for the possibility that your child will eat more at daycare than they do at home.

Therefore it is best to pack in extra food more than what the baby usually takes at home. Pack an extra bottle or an extra pack of crackers, or whatever it may be. You will be surprised to learn that they finished all the food.

Also, the extra food helps the daycare manage growth spurts when your child suddenly needs more food than what you normally give her.

how to prepare for enrolling baby into daycare

9. Prepare for Changes in Sleep Routine

Your baby is not going to sleep the same way they sleep at home. Similar to a change in feeding habits the napping routine and habits will change too once they enroll in daycare. For instance they may go to sleep later than usual at home.

It is okay to let your daycare know the routine that you follow at home but do not expect it is going to remain the same. A typical day at daycare is incredibly stimulating, noisy, and overwhelming with all those activities and children.

Read: Helping your Baby Transition to Daycare

10. Allow Adjustment Period

Your baby may react in a variety of ways when you enroll them into daycare. You need to allow them some adjustment period as they are growing and transitioning into daycare. They may have different phases when they love the daycare, and seem excited about the new environment.

Some days they may appear to think it’s too much and exhausted, and dread being at daycare. The next day they may love it so much there that they don’t want to leave.

All these are phases that babies outgrow. Do not treat any as a reflection of the quality of the daycare and staff, their relationship with you, their relationships with other kids/staff, or anything you have control over, but rather just developmental phases most kids go through.

11. Communicate  with your Daycare

Don’t try to assume anything. You will have to tell your daycare what you need them to know. Childcare is their profession yes, but every baby is different so there might be moments where you’ll have to correct them.

Communicate clearly if there is something you need them to do and put it in writing. Be explicit in your instructions and spell out everything. There is no room to assume that something is common sense or else you will be disappointed.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there are things you are not sure about, ask and they are obliged to answer you. Ask if there are any prohibited food items, how many diaper changes your baby had, or bottles of feed among others. You can also call during the day, and want a full report. 

Related Articles

Top Questions to Ask during Daycare Tour

Disadvantages of Daycare for Working Moms

Why you Should Allow your Baby to Cross Dress to Daycare

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.